the dirt in which you were born. Oh, you'll never be fit for anything
but to herd animals with horns! You have no aptitude for science! You
hardly know how to stick on a label! And there you are, dwelling with me
snug as a parson, living in clover, taking your ease!"
But Emma, turning to Madame Homais, "I was told to come here--"
"Oh, dear me!" interrupted the good woman, with a sad air, "how am I to
tell you? It is a misfortune!"
She could not finish, the druggist was thundering--"Empty it! Clean it!
Take it back! Be quick!"
And seizing Justin by the collar of his blouse, he shook a book out of
his pocket. The lad stooped, but Homais was the quicker, and, having
picked up the volume, contemplated it with staring eyes and open mouth.
"CONJUGAL--LOVE!" he said, slowly separating the two words. "Ah! very
good! very good! very pretty! And illustrations! Oh, this is too much!"
Madame Homais came forward.
"No, do not touch it!"
The children wanted to look at the pictures.
"Leave the room," he said imperiously; and they went out.
First he walked up and down with the open volume in his hand, rolling
his eyes, choking, tumid, apoplectic. Then he came straight to his
pupil, and, planting himself in front of him with crossed arms--
"Have you every vice, then, little wretch? Take care! you are on a
downward path. Did not you reflect that this infamous book might fall
in the hands of my children, kindle a spark in their minds, tarnish the
purity of Athalie, corrupt Napoleon. He is already formed like a man.
Are you quite sure, anyhow, that they have not read it? Can you certify
"But really, sir," said Emma, "you wished to tell me--"
"Ah, yes! madame. Your father-in-law is dead."
In fact, Monsieur Bovary senior had expired the evening before suddenly
from an attack of apoplexy as he got up from table, and by way of
greater precaution, on account of Emma's sensibility, Charles had begged
Homais to break the horrible news to her gradually. Homais had thought
over his speech; he had rounded, polished it, made it rhythmical; it was
a masterpiece of prudence and transitions, of subtle turns and delicacy;
but anger had got the better of rhetoric.
Emma, giving up all chance of hearing any details, left the pharmacy;
for Monsieur Homais had taken up the thread of his vituperations.
orb melancholy and full of poetry. She even began to sing--
"One night, do you remember, we were sailing," etc.
Her musical but weak voice died away along the waves, and the winds
carried off the trills that Leon heard pass like the flapping of wings
She was opposite him, leaning against the partition of the shallop,
through one of whose raised blinds the moon streamed in. Her black
dress, whose drapery spread out like a fan, made her seem more slender,
taller. Her head was raised, her hands clasped, her eyes turned towards
heaven. At times the shadow of the willows hid her completely; then she
reappeared suddenly, like a vision in the moonlight.
Leon, on the floor by her side, found under his hand a ribbon of scarlet
silk. The boatman looked at it, and at last said--
"Perhaps it belongs to the party I took out the other day. A lot
of jolly folk, gentlemen and ladies, with cakes, champagne,
cornets--everything in style! There was one especially, a tall handsome
man with small moustaches, who was that funny! And they all kept saying,
'Now tell us something, Adolphe--Dolpe,' I think."
"You are in pain?" asked Leon, coming closer to her.
"Oh, it's nothing! No doubt, it is only the night air."
"And who doesn't want for women, either," softly added the sailor,